Archive for January 8th, 2007

Picture This

birthday muffin

I was awakened on my birthday by loud singing from the kitchen. My girl, baking blueberry muffins and happily singing Brandi Carlile songs, recently learned from the CD Daddy got from Santa.

Oh, Lord,
What can I say?
I’m so sad, since you went awaaaaaaaaay
Time, time,
Tickin’ on me
Alone is the last place
I wanted to beeee

You haven’t heard that song until you’ve heard a muffin-making 10-year-old sing it (o’ course, you probably haven’t heard it anyway!).

We have big, fat candles. They’re Chanukah candles! I saw them in the grocery store in early December and was all, “Whoa, cool candles. Chanukah candles? Why should the Jews get all the good candles? Would it be wrong to put these big, fat, happy candles on a Christian birthday cake? I’m thinking, ‘no…'” I talk to myself a lot in the grocery store. So, anyway, I got a big, fat candle in my muffin. (Don’t feel sorry for me, with no cake. By the time the holidays and Jif’s birthday are over, we really are over-caked, here. A birthday muffin is a good thing.)

Then I remembered that I needed to get my license renewed. Now ain’t that a helluva way to celebrate a birthday? But it was necessary. One of the nicest things that happened on my birthday was that Jif offered to stand in the DMV line for me, and let me sit until he got up to the head of the line. Something about WTF Disease makes it difficult for me to stand, just stand. I can walk OK most of the time; but just standing is tough, I get weak and shaky. But I told him I wanted to try. And I did it. I just had him hold my absurdly overloaded purse. Even though I stood by myself, it really touched me that he offered to stand in the line for me. He must really like me (in spite of what he was about to do).

So I get the license, and I pick up my peeps from the bench on the way out, as I look down at the picture on the license. Ohgoodlord. I hold it out to show my husband. And we become the center of attention at the DMV because he laughs so loudly. All the way out the door and onto the sidewalk, where he’s doubled over. “Did you mean to look like that?”

“Shut up. It’s not as bad as that college ID I used to have.” It is a pretty scary-looking picture. Or rather, scared-looking. I don’t do well with ID pictures. I really did have a graduate school ID card with a picture that would make anyone, I mean ANYONE, in ANY situation, laugh hysterically. The person taking the picture told me to “look up here,” but apparently, I looked “up there,” because in the photo, my eyes were huge and rolled almost up into my forehead, like I was being visited by aliens, or a pterodactyl was about to crap on my head. And it was damned funny. When I was suffering from clinical depression, I would routinely take that card out and make myself laugh. I would flash it at unhappy-looking strangers in line at a fast food restaurant, and it would change their lives! My new license isn’t quite that good, but it’s pretty good (bad). No, I will not show you. Not yet, anyway.

In general, I’m fairly photogenic, and so is my daughter. But we both have photographic challenges in certain areas. For me, it’s any sort of official ID card. For LG, it’s the annual school photograph. I don’t mean to brag (yes, I do), but my kid is really cute. I take fantastic pictures of her. If you only saw her school pictures, though, you would think that her only hope is to grow up to be featured on Extreme Makeover or The Swan. She did OK in preschool and kindergarten. But from 1st through 5th grades, picture day has been a dark, dark day at the Fairchild house. Well, not “picture day” itself, but the day when they send home the pictures. LG’s school has a racket where you have to pay before the pictures are even taken. And then if you don’t like them, you can get a refund. Do you know how hard it is to tell your child she has to take her pictures back to school and get your money back? Yea, we have a lot of unwanted pictures in the cupboard, here.

I know what my problem is with the driver’s license photo. I never smile. Mostly because when I do try to smile, I smile for 20 minutes, and then when I stop, the person takes the shot. I know they do that on purpose, and then they laugh at me. But also, because the purpose of your license is really so that when you get stopped by an officer of the law, you, the individual in the vehicle, must be identifiable as the same individual in the license photo. When an officer of the law approaches your car window, do you have a big cheesy grin on your face? No, you do not (unless you’re drunk, but I’m not). You have a look that says, “Is there a problem, officer?” Or “How fast was I going?!” Or even “Don’t shoot!” Actually, I think that last one is the look I was going for in my newest license.

I cannot say that I know why LG can’t come home with a decent school picture. They take them twice a year at her school, fall and spring. There was the one where she had what appeared to be Oreo crumbs on her lips. More than I can count with bizarre hairstyles that she did not have when she left the house, nor when she returned, and which she has no memory of anyone having perpetrated against her during the school day. There have been those times when we forgot it was picture day and she wore some abomination against all things matching and coordinating. And that in itself is not usually enough to make us reject the photos, but those times are usually combined, perhaps in an effort to compensate, with what is supposed to be a big smile but is actually a very menacing, teeth-bared expression. We know by now that the pictures are going to be bad, so we don’t get disappointed anymore. We plan to laugh at them. And laugh we do. Loudly and at great length, all three of us. And I always, always tell her (in case you were worried), “You are a beautiful child, and we have beautiful photographs of you, but for some reason, these school photographers just don’t capture you. We’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing at the silliness of the picture . . .” And she knows that’s true.

I promise if I ever come across that grad school ID, I will show you.

Oh, and for the blogfriend whose daughter sent LG a school pic and is awaiting one . . . it ain’t gonna be a school pic, but we did take some super-model shots in the woods over the weekend, just so we could send you one.

file under: &Family


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